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Mistress Hires Hit Men from Jail; Father Charged with Murder for Saving Daughter; Bizarre Texas Murder-for-Hire Trial Developments
Aired June 13, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, Texas. A gorgeous Houston socialite, mother of two, living the high life, including a million-dollar estate, a private plane, vacation home. But then she`s ambushed getting into her luxury car, shot point-blank in the stomach. Miracle, she survives. But tonight, we learn it`s not the first time, two previous attempts on the millionaire mom.
Bombshell tonight. Police hone in on the murder suspect, all right. It`s Mommy`s high-powered lawyer husband`s mistress and her husband of 21 years. And now, a bizarre, a crazy twist. The mistress takes out another murder hit? Not on the millionaire mom, but the mistress`s lover, Mommy`s husband, the lawyer she cheated with.
Come on, ladies! Is this guy really worth it all? And is the mistress caught on tape ordering yet another murder for hire?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prominent Houston-area attorney accused of plotting to have his wife killed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He asked his mistress to help kill his wife.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michelle Gaiser.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s her husband`s mistress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A shocking new twist in the murder-for-hire trial.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As his attorney read from a note he says the mistress wrote...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michelle Gaiser from her jail cell has plotted yet another murder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mistress is targeting him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has solicited an inmate to murder Jeffrey Stern for $20,000.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This case has been full of twists and turns, and now a bombshell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It needs to look like a robbery gone bad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or a knife in the neck. Cut the carotid artery, and it`s over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yvonne Stern is standing by her man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite the fact that he`s accused of trying to have her killed more than once.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) someone jumped out of their car and pointed and shot me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) there that people will think the wife did the planning to kill him as revenge.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First it was Yvonne Stern who was constantly watching her back, now it`s her husband.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And tonight, Daddy catches a child sex predator sexually molesting his 5-year-old little girl, and he punches the perv to death! But now Daddy facing murder charges?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A shocking story out of Texas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What started as a get-together turned deadly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A father told authorities that a 47-year-old man...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Took the girl out into some brush and attempted to molest her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The father went to look for her and found her half-naked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The father told police he heard his daughter scream.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was screaming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a fight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And in a fit of rage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the dad punched the man repeatedly in the head.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beat a man to death.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With his bare hands.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to get her away from him (INAUDIBLE) several times.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The father has not been arrested.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have the right to protect your daughter and use force to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would have done the same.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He got what he well deserved.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could this happen? How could you beat a man to death with your bare hands?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) get the results of the autopsy, you know, (INAUDIBLE) trauma to the head, or was it something else?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sheriff says a grand jury will decide if the father will be charged in this case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think this father should be charged?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) don`t ask that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.
Bombshell tonight, live. Texas police hone in on a murder suspect, all right, Mommy`s high-powered lawyer husband`s mistress and her own husband of 21 years. But now a bizarre twist. The mistress apparently takes out yet another hit, this time on the lover, the lawyer husband she cheated with. Is this guy really worth it all?
We are taking your calls. Straight out to John DePetro, WPRO. John, thanks for being with us. I don`t get it. What does this guy have? I mean, I know he`s a high-powered lawyer. He makes a lot of money.
There`s the mistress. Oh, yes, she`s crying now. But according to police, she wasn`t crying when she took out not one, not two, but three hits on her lover`s wife. Now, she says hubby helped her.
But what can you tell me now, John, about the mistress taking out a hit from behind bars on the lawyer husband?
JOHN DEPETRO, WPRO RADIO: Nancy, as if this case couldn`t get any stranger, authorities are wondering, Was this a prison plot? Allegedly, she was trying to entice another inmate, the promise of $20,000, a four- page detailed letter, trying to have the inmate kill her lover and possibly make it seem like it was the wife that did it.
This was a very detailed jailhouse letter. And Nancy, if it`s true, it was a prison plot. She will not relent on going after and trying to kill even from behind bars.
GRACE: OK, right there, right off the top, John, the facts are crazy and don`t make sense because if she`s trying to get another female inmate to perform a hit, why is she mailing her a letter? She could just yell it down the cellblock. She could meet her in the cafeteria. Why would she mail a letter to a female inmate? I don`t get it.
And also, a lot of this is apparently -- this last hit she orders on the man she cheated with, the husband, the lawyer -- on the phone. But I mean, has nobody learned? Didn`t anybody watch the tot mom coverage? They`re taping your calls behind bars, John. Hello!
DEPETRO: Nancy, apparently, in the letter, it`s very detailed about his comings and goings, more details about his life. So she felt she need more information to provide to the alleged killer.
GRACE: OK, you know what? Let`s take it from the top. John, I`m usually on your side, but just then, you didn`t answer a single question I threw at you.
I`m going to give Aaron Smith a chance, anchor, KTRH. All right, Aaron, why would the inmate, the female lover, who apparently is claiming this lawyer was into all kind of deviant sexual practices -- now, who would imagine that from a high-powered, well-respected lawyer? Me!
Long story short, in addition to all these crazy deviant sex practices she`s claiming on Jeffrey Stern, she`s saying, A, that he helped organize all three hits on his wife. And now she wants him dead. But if she wanted a female inmate to kill him, why would she send her a letter, Aaron?
AARON SMITH, KTRH RADIO (via telephone): Nancy Grace, that`s an absolute wonderful question. You said it right. This guy is a very prominent lawyer in the city of Houston, on one of the richest sides of town, you know, already accused of trying to have his wife killed.
Now this mistress turns the table on him, and of all people, she asked an inmate in the jail to try and have him killed. It`s absolutely unbelievable. This was a bombshell yesterday.
GRACE: Well, another thing, Aaron Smith, KTRH, he may be rich and high-powered, but according to this woman, he still wanted to play "Spank me, spank me," all right? That`s neither here nor there, but the jury will certainly enjoy hearing about that.
I got a lot of questions, Ellie Jostad, about the mistress ordering yet another hit from behind bars. If it`s true, if this letter really exists, why doesn`t Stern, the lawyer`s lawyer, show us the letter? Why is he playing peek-a-boo with the letter? Did you see it?
Hey, pull that up, Liz. I want everybody to see the lawyer, the husband`s lawyer. He waves the letter around, but he won`t show it to anybody. Why Ellie?
ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Well, right, Nancy. And that`s the question we asked. That`s what the reporters who were at this news conference asked. We just get a little flash of the letter there, but they won`t let us see a copy of it.
They claim that this inmate actually turned the letter over to authorities, but that the Harris County DA`s office declined to charge the mistress in this new alleged plot. So they say -- this is Stern`s defense team says that they then went to the DoJ, the Department of Justice, went to the FBI. They claim that the FBI has actually authenticated this letter, but the FBI, DA`s office, not commenting.
GRACE: OK, Ellie, for the viewers just joining us, this case has taken a bizarre twist. And have you noticed, Ellie, these bizarre twists always happen on the eve of trial, when the high-powered lawyer husband is about to go to trial.
The mistress has already accepted a plea. She`s got to formalize it in court. But she`s behind bars, all right? He`s the only one still out, the lawyer husband that had this affair for years and years and years. So every time he`s about to go to trial, something new happens that delays his trial.
Take it from the start, Ellie. What happened?
JOSTAD: Right. Well, Nancy, there were three attempts on Yvonne Stern`s light -- life, rather. And actually, it started first with someone just driving by and spraying the house with bullets while Yvonne Stern and the two children were sleeping in the house, Jeffrey Stern out of town.
Second attempt, Yvonne Stern goes to the door to answer it. Her son is actually right behind her. And a gunman fires at her through the door, just barely missing her.
Then that third attempt, she had moved into an apartment building for her own safety. She`s in her vehicle when a third gunman approached her, and this time succeeded in shooting her, but she survived.
So there are four other co-defendants that have also been charged. These are gunmen, middlemen (ph), would-be hit men. The husband is charged. The mistress is also charged.
But the husband was supposed to go to trial back in April, but then his defense got a delay. They claim they`d been -- just gotten new information about allegations against the mistress. They wanted a delay to examine those. So that`s why this has taken so long to finally go to trial very soon.
GRACE: And now that it`s going to trial again, once again, new allegations against the mistress behind bars.
OK, put Ellie back up for me. Ellie, what can you tell me about these sexually deviant behavior allegations?
JOSTAD: Right. Well, Nancy, in interviews, the mistress`s attorneys claim that there was this four-year grooming process. That`s how they described it on "20/20." They say that Stern controlled everything in Michelle Gaiser, the mistress`s, life, told her what to ear, told her what to eat, that he always said to her, Obedience and subservience, that she was asked to do things that she didn`t feel comfortable with...
GRACE: Ellie, Ellie...
GRACE: ... Ellie, isn`t it true that she claims every morning, the first thing he said to her on the phone, this mistress, is, Obedience...
GRACE: ... subservience?
JOSTAD: Exactly. Daily.
GRACE: Those were his first two words.
JOSTAD: According to her, right. Right. And she says that, you know, the middle of the night, he`d be texting her these elaborate sexual fantasies, that they became more and more sinister, including one where she finally -- and the way she described it to "Texas Monthly," she said that Jeffrey Stern wanted her, the mistress, to take a knife to the wife`s throat, to slit her throat, to cut her breasts, drown her in the pool, very disturbing fantasies.
And she says, the mistress, that she thought these fantasies were odd, but she didn`t dare question him. And so then, when it finally escalated to, Go find somebody to hurt my wife, she had no choice but to obey.
GRACE: OK, let`s just hold it right there. Unleash lawyers, Ken Padowitz, former homicide prosecutor, Miami, Darryl Cohen, defense attorney, Parag Shah, defense attorney, author, as well, both joining me out of Atlanta.
All right, Darryl Cohen -- please -- please put him up. Darryl...
DARRYL COHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Nancy?
GRACE: So your married boyfriend, this high-powered, high-paid lawyer, somebody kind of like you, starts telling you about his fantasy of you, the mistress, stabbing his wife in her breasts and then throwing her into the family pool to die, and you just go along with it? You want me to believe that? You, as her defense lawyer, want me to believe that? What have you got for me, Darryl?
COHEN: What I`ve got for you is, if she was so much under his control or under his power, then she had no choice but to go along with it or she`d lose him.
GRACE: You know what? (INAUDIBLE) through with you just a another moment. So now that she`s behind bars and she`s no longer under his power -- in fact, he`s going to testify against her -- who`s responsible for her latest murder-for-hire attempt?
COHEN: I don`t believe that anybody did that. I think that`s part of his deal so can be acquitted, throw out some smoke to put her down. He doesn`t want to lose his wife, doesn`t want to lose his lifestyle. He wants to stay just the way he is. Make it happen.
GRACE: OK, Parag, what about it?
PARAG SHAH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: She`s a crazy loon. I mean, you know, she is unstable and...
GRACE: That`s your defense?
SHAH: The last -- the lett...
GRACE: OK, you know what? Thanks, Parag. OK, Ken Padowitz, she`s not a candidate for the insanity defense. I don`t know where Parag came up with that. I think he made it up. What about it? Help me, Ken. What`s the defense?
KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER PROSECUTOR: She`s either a fantastic witness for the prosecution -- and the defense for her is that, He made me do all these things. I had to go ahead and do it. And you know, I`m not responsible because of his overpowering way that he handles me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three attempts on the life of his wife.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) bullet hole and (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three attempts on Mrs. Stern`s life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Smirk on his face and shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three attempts on this woman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) shot me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now Gaiser, from behind bars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s her husband`s mistress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is accused of planning a hit on Jeffrey himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Welcome back. A new and bizarre twist in the murder-for-hire plot headed to trial, a high-profile and very wealthy Texas lawyer facing trial for the alleged three-time murder attempt on his wife.
Behind bars right now, his mistress. She implicates him, he implicates her. But just on the eve of trial, suddenly his defense attorney holds up a handwritten letter they say the mistress wrote from behind bars, trying to take out yet another murder hit, this time on her lawyer lover that cheated on his wife.
We are taking your calls. To you, Caryn Stark, psychologist, joining us out of New York. A lot of people want to talk about why this wife, Yvonne Stern, stands by her husband. But I am much more intrigued with why would a woman, a fairly good-looking young woman cheat with a married man who tells you about his fantasies about stabbing his wife in the breast and throwing her in the pool to die? Man, I would run for the hills as if I had seen a monster!
CARYN STARK, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Nancy, this is a typical sociopathic person who has no conscience. It takes two to have obedience and subservience. After all, she is not in jail with him. She`s a willing participant. So she gets something out of being the person that`s carrying through his wishes, if, in fact, they are his wishes.
Anyone who`s capable of hiring someone three times that way is capable of listening to those fantasies, enjoying those fantasies and being a willing participant in anything that happens, if not an initiator.
GRACE: You know, put the three players back up, Parag Shah, Darryl Cohen, Ken Padowitz. Look at these. Darryl Cohen, why do men always cheat down?
COHEN: I don`t think...
GRACE: I mean, he`s got this beautiful wife, the mother of his children, and here he is with this woman that he claims is an illegal alien -- illegal immigrant, excuse me -- and that she has got trouble with the IRS and that she tried to murder somebody before. But yet he`s the one cheating with her. She may be a psycho, but he`s the one cheating with her! Why?
COHEN: He`s -- Nancy, he`s giving her Kool-aid and she drank it. She has -- the battered women`s syndrome. She doesn`t know what she`s doing...
GRACE: There`s no evidence he ever beat her, Darryl. That`s not true.
COHEN: But he`s mentally beat her -- obsession...
GRACE: Oh, please!
COHEN: ... Do what I tell you to do...
GRACE: There`s no such...
COHEN: ... everything...
GRACE: ... thing as a battered women`s mental emotional...
COHEN: Oh, sure, there is, Nancy!
GRACE: ... abuse defense! It doesn`t exist!
GRACE: No! No!
COHEN: Absolutely there is.
COHEN: You can be battered mentally, you can be battered physically.
GRACE: No such thing under the law!
COHEN: I mean, that`s just the way it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The murder-for-hire plot with his mistress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stern`s defense team says his former mistress, Michelle Gaiser, was plotting his murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: However you do this, it needs to look like a robbery gone bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are back and taking your calls. A murder-for-hire plot becomes even more twisted as a handwritten note emerges.
Back to you, Ellie Jostad. For those of you who are just joining us, explain.
JOSTAD: Right, Nancy. Well, Jeffrey Stern is accused of arranging -- being the mastermind of these three attempts on his wife`s life. His mistress, whose name is Michelle Gaiser, has already agreed that she will plead guilty to her part in these plots in exchange for a cap on her sentence. She`ll only get 25 years instead of life.
But now, the husband, who is awaiting trial, says that his girlfriend not only wants his wife dead, but she also wants him dead, that she actually is trying to arrange another hit from behind bars on him.
GRACE: Aaron Smith, KTRH, isn`t it true that one of the hitmen, say that -- or the middle guy, one of the other people involved in the plot -- say that they see the lawyer, Jeffrey Stern, in the parking lot with the mistress, and he flashes the money that`s going to be paid after the hit is done, that there`s a flurry of phone activity between the husband and his mistress around the time of the hits?
Somebody`s funding these to the tune of $20,000, $40,000 a hit. It`s not her. She`s a secretary. And he`s always conveniently not around at the time of the shooting.
Isn`t that true, Aaron Smith?
SMITH: As far as I know, Nancy, it is. The interesting thing that I found about Jeffrey Stern is that he admits to the affair but basically, nothing else. And it`s interesting also to note that prosecutors have little evidence against him. What they`re relying on is Michelle Gaiser`s testimony.
Now, keep in mind, she`s already cut a deal, OK, so that she can`t get life in prison. After cutting this deal, she was basically told that she would get 25 years or less. So this is kind of what we`re dealing with here in this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you get the money, don`t do it right away. Why? Because my people will think, She just dropped 10G, and now this dude is gone. Whatever you do, it must not look like a hit. It`s got to be accidental death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: We are taking your calls. And joining me right now, special guest is Sam Cammack. Sam is the defense lawyer who represented one of the alleged hit men. All right? Because -- OK, now, Liz, that`s not really fair. That`s -- that`s just not a good picture of Damian Flores. OK?
This guy has already gone to trial once. He got a mistrial for allegedly shooting the millionaire mom in the abdomen.
OK. Sam, thank you for being with us. Sam, where do you practice?
SAM CAMMACK, ATTORNEY FOR DAMIAN FLORES: You`re welcome.
GRACE: Where do you practice?
CAMMACK: In Houston, Harris County.
GRACE: Houston, Texas. Now, Sam, your guy says he`s innocent, of course, and you are relying on the fact that millionaire mom ID`d another guy who looks very similar to your client, correct?
CAMMACK: Well, not only that, that was just one small point in that entire trial. I mean, Nancy, when the jurors went back to deliberate, they originally went to not guilty and then deliberated for some time and ended up 7-5 not guilty. And then split -- 13 hours later 6-6 -- 6-6 split. And so -- I mean the evidence during the trial was just overwhelming that Damian Flores was not the individual that was involved.
The problem in the entire case was Michelle Gaiser who, you know, wouldn`t know the truth if she saw -- hit her in the face, she wouldn`t know the truth. She`s just a pathological liar and I have said it as many times as I have been asked.
GRACE: Let me ask you this, you say that the lover, Michelle Gaiser, is the problem. OK, explain that to me, because obviously she hired somebody to shoot this woman in the stomach.
CAMMACK: Well, listen, not only have we found out after the jury trial that the state withheld 48 extraneouses from us that we were entitled to during the jury trial, one of which Michelle Gaiser had approached another individual as a hit man to kill an ex-boyfriend of her. Now we`ve learned just most recently that there`s a letter out there where she tried to hire a hit man to kill Jeffrey Stern.
Now I was privy to the evidence at the jury trial and I listened to the undercover tapes where this woman was trying to kill two or three unidentified people, the court wouldn`t allow me to get it in over objection. Over and over and over again I think I objected 60 times to it. But the jurors got the message so it`s about Michelle Gaiser.
GRACE: Let me ask you this, Sam. At the trial against your client, one of the actual alleged shooters, did Michelle Gaiser testify?
CAMMACK: She did testify. And that was the first time, Nancy, that she had ever been actually tested on the witness stand. She -- they just rolled over for her in the trial before where they gave that guy 45 years for just shooting at the door. Well, he deserved it. I mean he confessed to it.
GRACE: What I really don`t understand why the judge didn`t let you bring in those tapes, if she was a witness at the trial against your client.
CAMMACK: Yes. Yes. I didn`t understand it either, and the jurors didn`t understand it. That was one of their main issues in the back. We knew something was on that tape that the judge wouldn`t let us hear. I fought her the entire time. You know the judge has probably only been on the bench nine months, I think she tried to be fair, but she`s been a prosecutor for 25 years. You know?
GRACE: Hey, hey, hey, there`s nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that, Commack.
GRACE: With me -- with me is Sam Commack, Houston area defense lawyer, very well respected in the Houston area.
Let me go back to Dr. Gwenn O`Keefe, physician and founder of Pediatricsnow.com.
Dr. Gwenn, the shooting that this wife, this mother sustained at point- blank range, should -- by all accounts have been fatal. Why do you believe she survived that?
DR. GWENN O`KEEFE, M.D., PEDIATRICIAN, FOUNDER & CEO, PEDIATRICSNOW.COM: You know, she must have had an angel sitting on her shoulder, Nancy. But there`s also a very complicated organ system in the abdomen and depending on where the bullet lands, it`s not always fatal. It can land in a number of organs that buy her a lot of time. So she had some luck on her side, but also the anatomy of the abdomen saved her.
GRACE: Out to you, Mark Smith, former detective, president, New Jersey Polygraphist.
Mark, you`ve seen so many murder cases, you`ve been a detective also in so many cases where there`s marital conflict. Why do men always cheat down, number one? And obviously this mistress, she is a pathological liar, and a would-be serial killer, that`s who she is, but he`s the one sleeping with her. I think they should go boil in the same pot myself.
MARK SMITH, FORMER DETECTIVE: Well, you`re right, Nancy. To answer your first question, they cheat down because they think that it`s easier to get away with it. And that never turns out to be the case.
I wouldn`t put it past this guy to have sent someone into the jail to conspire and put the idea in her head to put a hit out on him. It certainly wouldn`t be the first time that that happened and it would explain a lot in this case.
GRACE: I think you`re giving them all way, way, way too much credit.
Everybody, I want to unleash the lawyers one more time. Ken Padowitz, Darryl Cohen, Parag Shah.
You know, Darryl, back to you. If you take a look at the hard evidence that we know of against the husband, you`ve got one guy who`s part of the assassination plots on the wife, identifying the husband with the mistress showing the money that he`s going to pay once the hit is done. You`ve got, of course, the testimony of the mistress. You`ve got a flurry of phone calls at the time of the hits, the -- the hits on the wife. Between mistress and the husband.
And you`ve always got the dad, the lawyer, the husband, conveniently somewhere else. He`s out of town. He`s upstairs while the mom is downstairs. He`s never there at the time of the hit.
DARRYL COHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, of course he`s not going to be there because he didn`t do it. He didn`t have anything to do with it. This woman wants to get her claws, this mistress has already pled guilty, she`s got 25 years, nothing to lose, she gave it up and so she is controlling him with her sexual wiles. I mean Kool-Aide. Kool-Aide.
GRACE: She is controlling him with her sexual wiles. OK, I haven`t heard that in a long time.
Parag, give me your best shot.
PARAG SHAH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, AUTHOR OF "THE CODE": Well, Miss Grace, we already know from the letter that she is capable of doing this by herself. She -- with the other information that other attorney mentioned, she`s done this before, so she is absolutely capable of doing it by herself without his help and that`s what the defense is going to focus on.
GRACE: OK, Padowitz?
KEN PADOWITZ, FORMER HOMICIDE PROSECUTOR: Well, I think that the prosecution had their star witness here, the mistress, and she`s got a lot of problems so the prosecution has a lot of problems. They have a credibility issue with their main witness and their case is going to rise or fall on the mistress`s testimony.
GRACE: Everyone, to "On the Radar," tracking crime and justice.
To Texas, mom accused of putting PCP or angel dust in her 6-year-old daughter`s lunch sandwich.
To Florida, tot mom reappears in the media, of course, insisting, quote, "She obviously didn`t kill her daughter," and that there`s no one she loved more than Caylee. Now how odd, she would never say that on the stand in front of a jury and undergo cross-examination.
And to Oklahoma, a 16-year-old beauty queen, beaten to death allegedly by a convenience store clerk after simply entering the store to buy a soda.
For "On the Radar" or to have your story on our radar, go to hlnTV.com/ontheradar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The little girl was sexually assaulted.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Took the girl out into some brush and attempted to molest her.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Her father went to look for her.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The father of the young girl then attacked the man after worrying what was happening.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And found her half naked.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: He punched the man several times. The man whose name has not been released died at the scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: He catches a child sex predator actually molesting his 5-year-old little girl. Punches the guy, kills him. Now he could face murder charges? What a twist. Lady Justice is crying tonight as far as I`m concerned. This perv got what he asked for.
Straight out to John Phillips, KABC. John, what happened?
JOHN PHILLIPS, HOST, 790 KABC: Well, this was a dramatic incident as you just described where you had a barbecue that was going on in this rural part of Texas just west of Houston. And as this barbecue is going on, a man hears his 5-year-old daughter screaming at the top of her lungs.
He rushes to his daughter to find out what happened, and finds this monster on top of his daughter, allegedly molesting her, right in the act, catching him right there as he`s doing it, and physically intervenes to try to prevent this from going on. Pulls the daughter away from him, punches the guy in the face. He ends up dying due to blunt trauma to the head and the neck and it`s a mess.
GRACE: Joining me also is Jim Lago, morning host at KKTX.
Jim, thank you for being with us, Jim joining us from Corpus Christi.
Jim, you know, I have done a straw poll and everyone I have spoken to, and I did not prejudice them in any way with my question, says the child molester deserved what he got.
JIM LAGO, MORNING HOST, 1360 KKTX: Yes, that`s exactly the sentiment here, too. John described it perfectly. Nobody has any tears to shed for this guy. In fact I ran a poll on my show, 4-year-old, father punches a child molester and he dies, what would he get? Jail time, anger management counseling or father of the year award? It was, like, 96 percent father of the year award.
GRACE: I`m all about father of the year. Because, you know, my head nearly blew off, Jim Lago, when I found out a little bully at John David and Lucy`s class, he`s much smaller than them, hit John David in the head with a block. All right? But I didn`t want to on the front page of the "Enquirer," tracking down the kid in the parking lot. So I held back.
But come on, the father finds this perv actually molesting his 5-year-old little girl. Do you know my children are about to turn 5 years old?
LAGO: Well, I`ve had three -- I have three daughters. OK? And let me tell you, as a father of three daughters, everything rational that you have ever studied, thought of, in your life, completely escapes you when you hear your child scream. And if it`s a terrified scream, you are charged with enough testosterone and energy to power a small city.
GRACE: You know what? You`re right, Lago.
To Caryn Stark, psychologist joining us out of New York.
Caryn, you`ve been with me on many occasions since I had the twins. If I hear a child cry, much less the twins, there`s just something instinctive, I just immediately, even though, say, we`re at the studio or in a restaurant or walking down the street in Manhattan, it`s an instinct that kicks in. And I just don`t think any jury in this country would convict the father. And I agree.
CARYN STARK, PSYCHOLOGIST: And I agree, I strongly agree because it`s so primal, it`s just a basic instinct. Think about a bear with its cubs. There is nothing stronger than the bond between a parent and a child. And not only does he hear her scream, but he actually sees this act going on. What could fuel his adrenaline more than something like that? It`s really a heinous crime.
GRACE: With me right now, special guest Marc Klaas, president and founder of KlaasKids Foundation.
Weigh in, Marc.
MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Like he said, he is the father of the year. My concern is more for the little girl. She was traumatized in numerous ways. First, she was taken away to this secret location, then she was molested by this guy and then she watched her father beat this man to death. She`s obviously going to require some counseling and some social services in order to help her put this in context and put her life back together. And I just truly hope that she`s not forgotten and that she receives the services that she requires.
GRACE: You know I notice the control room in New York is continually showing shots of this chicken coup, they obviously are not familiar with life out in the country.
Catherine Torrez, it doesn`t matter if you`re in a big city or if you`re out in the country, or where the molestation happens, you are scarred for life. You can go on and be successful, as you are, at catherinetorrez.com, but what will this child face, Katherine? And to me, I think she`ll be proud of her father.
CATHERINE TORREZ, SURVIVOR OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE: I actually think she`ll be proud of her father, too, as she grows older. One of the main things that she`s going to face right now is confusion. Because of all the issues that are surrounding their family right now with her father possibly being in trouble, a little -- possibly maybe even a little bit of guilt, but all of that is something that she will be able to work through with counseling, especially with the support of family --
GRACE: Well, Catherine, can you imagine what she`ll go through if her father is charged with murder?
And people, this is going to the grand jury. The district attorney refuses to say, hey, this is not a case, I`m not going to put it up. This is actually going to the grand jury to see if they will charge daddy with murder one.
What will this child go through if her father is charged, much less convicted of murder?
GRACE: He catches a sexual predator actually molesting his 5-year-old little girl, punches him, and it kills the molester. Now he is facing murder charges? It`s all bass-ackwards tonight in near Corpus Christi, Texas.
Out to Julie in California. Hi, Julie, what`s your question?
JULIE, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: do you actually believe that the grand jury will make this man face charges for this?
GRACE: You know what, Julie? My common sense tells me no. But just when I think I know what a jury is going to do, I think, O.J. tot mom. And that, you know, that`s the reality with a jury or a grand jury. You don`t know what they`re going to go.
So, back to you, Jim Lago, joining us out of Corpus Christi, KKTX. When is the prosecutor putting this to the grand jury?
LAGO: Well, wait, wait, wait. Hold on a minute. We`re talking about Texas here. All right? You folks may do this differently in New York or California with O.J. We don`t do that. We got Texas justice going, and it went down. And as far as traumatized little girl, I think she`s going to be really proud of her daddy. I don`t think she is going to be traumatized at all. And I think --
GRACE: Well, Jim, I appreciate that. I don`t know if you`ve been able to hear the rest of the show, but that`s exactly what we`ve been saying. So your sentiment is not just isolated to Texas.
Mark Smith, do I understand correctly that you think the dad should be charged?
SMITH: No, you don`t understand correctly. I said the case should definitely go to grand jury and hopefully the grand jury will return a no bill. It`s still a country of laws, and there`s no death penalty for child molesting yet. And so we`ve got to go by that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Little girl was sexually assaulted.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Father told authorities that a 47-year-old man who helps with his horses --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Got together, took the girl out into some brush and attempted to molest her.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: His 4-year-old daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The sheriff of Lavaca County says the father ended up beating the man to death with his bare hands.
GRACE: Absolutely a miscarriage of justice. He catches a sexual predator molesting his daughter, he punches the perv, and it kills him? And now he is getting taken to the grand jury?
We are taking your calls, but I want to go out to the lawyers very quickly, Padowitz, Cohen and Parag Shah.
Darryl, this is a miscarriage of justice.
COHEN: No, Nancy, it`s not. It`s terrific. Because when the grand jury - - and you and I know that grand juries are rubber stamps. When the prosecutors said to those grand jurors, do not indict, they`re going to turn out a no bill which is a lot stronger --
GRACE: OK. Is that true, Ken Padowitz?
PADOWITZ: That`s ridiculous. This prosecution, grow a backbone and ditch this case now. And be the end of it. She`s supposed to be a minister of justice. Give me a break.
GRACE: Agree or disagree, Parag Shah?
SHAH: I agree with Darryl. I think that public opinion is that he is father of the year and the grand jury will solidify that.
GRACE: I agree. District attorney, grow a spine, do the right thing. Don`t put this father through a grand jury.
I agree with you, Ken Padowitz.
Let`s stop and remember Army Private Michael Dinterman, 18, Littleston, Pennsylvania, killed Afghanistan. Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct, Combat Infantry badge, loved the beach, baseball, basketball, foots ball, favorite team, the Redskins. Leaves behind parents Richard and Laura, stepfather Michael, sister Amanda, step brother and sister Christopher and Michelle.
Michael Dinterman, American hero. Thanks to our guests but especially to you. And a special happy birthday to Jan. Put herself through school, earning a master`s degree while raising two boys. Spent a lifetime in education, touching the lives of more people than she will ever know. There we together Times Square with my brother Mack.
Happy birthday, Jan.
And tonight, good night from Georgia friends, Donna, Molly and Virginia, friend Natalie.
Everyone, Dr. Drew coming up next. I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern.
And until then, good night, friend.